Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out three talking points ahead of the Sheffield Wednesday trip.

DIFFICULT MONTH

When Rovers won at Bristol City on December 14, all was rosey in the garden. Since then, it has been a tough run for Tony Mowbray and his side.

They went in to the busy festive period in fine form, and with a near fully fit squad.

Since then, they have lost top scorer Bradley Dack to a season-ending injury, midfielder Corry Evans will spend an extended period on the sidelines, while several other spots in the starting line-up are now up for grabs.

Three consecutive draws at Ewood has stunted the momentum somewhat, while they have lost three consecutive away matches.

So many things when it comes to the starting line-up appear up for grabs, not helped by an injury list which appears to grow just when it feels like it is easing.

Mowbray will discuss the injury to Evans in Thursday’s pre-match press conference, but the news on Ryan Nyambe, who limped out of the Preston draw with a tight hamstring, looks more promising.

With no win in six matches, and a break of nine days following the trip to Hillsborough, Rovers will hoping to head in to that on the back of an encouraging result.

Fans are in need of a boost, one which could come in the transfer market, but nothing is better to lift spirits than three points on a Saturday.

 

NUHIU NUISANCE

Rovers have struggled against physical centre forwards in recent times, and they don’t come much bigger than the giant figure of Sheffield Wednesday striker Atdhe Nuhiu.

The Kosovan forward could set to be called upon more regularly for Garry Monk’s side, with top scorer Steven Fletcher sidelined for up to two months.

Nuhiu came off the bench to score in the Owls’ impressive win at Leeds United last weekend, and could get the nod to start against Rovers this weekend.

He had an impact off the bench in the game at Ewood in October, having scored when the sides last met at Hillsborough in March.

Nuhiu also scored twice in the Owls’ comeback in a 3-3 draw back in April 2014.

Preston left it until midway through the second half to throw on Jayden Stockley in last weekend’s game at Ewood, the target man having turned the reverse fixture at Deepdale on its head when coming off the bench.

And Monk could well be priming Nuhiu for a starting berth this weekend, a challenge which Darragh Lenihan and Tosin Adarabioyo will need to be ready for.

Or if Monk is feeling sentimental, he could hand a start to Jordan Rhodes who hasn’t really been seen since his hat-trick at Nottingham Forest last month.

 

GOALS AT A PREMIUM

No ground in the Championship has seen fewer goals this season than Hillsborough, with just 24 in 13 matches.

Ineeed, only third-placed Brentford have conceded less at home than Wednesday’s 10.

Only their 2-0 win over Barnsley in August, their opening home match, has an Owls home game been decided by more than one goal either way.

But Rovers will take confidence from the fact that Cardiff City and Hull City left Sheffield with three points last month.

Equally, Wednesday will be buoyed by two impressive wins on the road, both with clean sheets, at Brighton in the FA Cup and Leeds United last weekend.

Goals will also be talk of the town for both sides who will be without their top scorer, with 12-goal Steven Fletcher ruled out of the hosts and Bradley Dack, who had 10 before injury struck, unavailable for Rovers.

Adam Armstrong, with five goals in nine games, is one player who has stepped up to the plate for Rovers, but Mowbray will be looking for several more to come to the party.

Whether Armstrong gets another go as the central striker, remains to be seen.